Naperville residents taste chocolate samples Chocolate Walk

Vasu Dar, Staff Writer

Naperville residents tasted chocolate in downtown Naperville at the 7th Annual Chocolate Walk hosted by the Naperville Education Foundation (NEF) and the Downtown Naperville Alliance on May 7th. 

Residents purchased tickets for $30 at the Nichols library. Then, they could take a map and travel around downtown, going to local Naperville businesses and tasting chocolate samples given by volunteers at each one of them. The businesses ranged from Antiques of Naperville to Jojo’s Shake Bar. Over 300 people attended. Students from Naperville Central also volunteered at the event.

“It was really fun,” said Naperville Central volunteer Jeremy St. John. “It seemed like an activity that brought people together and allowed everyone to have a good time.”

The Downtown Naperville Alliance came up with the idea for the chocolate walk as a way to market downtown Naperville to visitors. 

“We are responsible for assisting with marketing event planning and advocating for downtown businesses,” said Danielle Tufano, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance. “We find that these fun events help bring people into our downtown to help them experience businesses that they’ve maybe never experienced before.”

According to Tufano, initiatives like these help local businesses grow.

“The businesses love this,” Tufano said. “They see a pretty significant jump in sales on days that we do events like this.”

This is the Downtown Naperville Alliance’s first year partnering with NEF for the Chocolate Walk. 

“We thought this was a great opportunity to partner with local nonprofits,” Tufano said. “It’s a way to get some chocolate and support a great cause.”

All proceeds from the ticket sales went to NEF. According to their website, the event raised $9,600.

“I am really grateful to the Downtown Naperville Alliance for including us,” said Wendy Goettsch, the Executive Director of NEF.

The money raised by the NEF helps Naperville 203 students.

“We are the philanthropic arm of Naperville 203,” Goettsch said. “Everything we do benefits the students of Naperville 203.”

NEF uses these funds to give grants to Naperville 203 schools.

“We bring great ideas to life through our annual and express grant programs,” Goettsch said. “We use our fund to remove barriers to learning for our Kid Booster Anonymous program… [and] support each school’s unique community.”

Tufano encouraged students from Central to participate in next year’s Chocolate walk.

“Whether you’re 5 or 95, this is an event that gets you out… all ages can enjoy an event like this”, Tufano said. “Who doesn’t love chocolate?”